In an ideal world, you will retire and enjoy many years fulfilling your dreams and spending time with those you love the most. Your retirement years can be some of the happiest and most enjoyable years of your life. But while we all hope for the best outcome possible, you should also plan for the possibility that life may deal you a difficult hand.
Your retirement plan should address the very real possibility that a chronic illness could strike – whether it’s you, your spouse or another loved one that’s affected. For many retirees, there is a good chance the chronic illness they may face later in life will be Alzheimer’s disease.
Today, more than 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and nearly half of people 85 and older have Alzheimer’s. So, while living well past your retirement age is desirable to practically everyone, living a long life does come with challenges.
Put frankly, Alzheimer’s is an expensive disease to deal with. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, payments for care associated with Alzheimer’s totaled $200 billion in 2012. That’s just for care related directly to treating the patient; it does not factor in lost wages or other expenses loved ones may incur when caring for the person with Alzheimer’s.
The good news is that planning ahead can help put you in a position where you can afford chronic care. It should be part of any discussion you may have concerning life insurance and chronic care needs in retirement.
“A plan for dealing with the costs of assisted living needs to be implemented before you develop Alzheimer’s or another chronic disease,” says Dr. Robert Pokorski, chief medical strategist for The Hartford’s life insurance programs.
You are not powerless in fighting Alzheimer’s
“It’s important to remember that while there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s, living a heart-healthy lifestyle can help delay the onset of the disease,” Dr. Pokorski says. He offers this “AGELESS” prescription for living a long, healthy life:
- Attitude – see the glass as half full
- Good medical care – see your doctor regularly
- Exercise – it has mental benefits as well as physical
- Learn – exercise your brain by learning new skills, playing games, reading, traveling, engaging in hobbies and interests
- Eat right – eat a balanced diet to help maintain a reasonable weight, cholesterol level and blood pressure
- Sleep – try to get at least eight hours each night
- Socialize – spend time with friends and loved ones
No one wants to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but lifestyle and financial decisions you make today can help you avoid many of the hardships that come along with it.
For information on assisted living in Richmond or anywhere in VA and NC, contact Spring Arbor.